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Developer/Publisher: Sirtech
Platform: PC
Release Date: 2001

by Scorpia

Wizardry 8 box front

Getting off to a good start in the game can be difficult. Even some Wiz veterans have found themselves starting over with more than one party. But, if you understand the tricks of character creation, learn the basic techniques of combat, and develop your characters properly, you'll be well-equipped to face the challenges ahead.

Before we start, a word about patches. Sir-Tech has released several for the game, but only one, the most recent, is available. This is the 12/23/01 patch. You can get the patch from the official Wizardry site at: http://www.wizardry8.com.

Class Switching
Character Creation
Character Development
Importance of Level
The Party
NPC Recruits
The Road To Arnika

Class Switching

One of the nastiest surprises for Wiz players is what happened to switching classes. In previous games, many moved characters from one profession to another, ending up with a party of immense power. You can't do that anymore.

When a character changes class, much of the old one is left behind forever, even when the new class exceeds the old in level. For instance, a Fighter who switches to Mage loses the ability to wear armor and wield most weapons, along with the loss of special Fighter abilities such as "berserk."

Going the other way—Mage to Fighter—isn't much better. The character can still cast spells, but none of the spell skills can be incremented at level up time; they can only be improved by use. No new spells can be learned, either.

Stats and level don't change on a class switch, but there's a mean kicker involved. Suppose your 3rd level Priest makes 4th level, and you move her to Fighter. Now you have a 4th level Fighter, who functions as a first level character in terms of class abilities. And you need as much experience for level 5 as you would if the character had begun as a Fighter.

Generally, changing class is not a good idea. If you want to do it, make your switches between compatible classes. For instance, Mage/Samurai. Both learn wizardry spells, so moving from one to another doesn't affect magic. Keep in mind that switching doesn't provide you with any equipment. If you move, say, an Alchemist to Ninja, you won't get any Ninja garb.

There is one instance, though, where changing class can be good, and that is with the "three-step" Bishop. While you can start a character right off as a Bishop, doing the three-step may be more advantageous.

You begin the character as a Priest. At level 2, you switch to Mage, and at level 3, switch to Bishop. Advancement in the monastery (first dungeon) is quick, so the process won't take long.

When you create the Priest, put points only in the Divine discipline, and choose spells only from the Divine school.

Why do it this way? If you start with a Bishop, you get a 7 in all the major disciplines, but no points in any of the individual skills.

However, when you switch from Priest to Mage, you get 5 in Wizardry, plus 5 each in Fire, Air, Water, and Mental skills, AND you keep all the points you already have in the Divine areas, and can cast those Priest spells along with whatever Mage spell you took.

Then when you move up to Bishop, you get the Alchemy and Psionic disciplines at 5 each, though no new points are added to any of the skills.

The two drawbacks to the three-step are losing the professional bonuses for Priest and Mage when you change class, and the fact that your Bishop will lag a bit in obtaining the next set of spells at level up time. Essentially, this Bishop is always two levels back. Where a regular Bishop would receive 3rd-level spells at 5th level, the "three-step" Bishop will only be getting 2nd-level spells.

If you decide to create a Bishop this way, the best races are Elf and Faerie. They get a good number of stat points, plus beginning as Priest gives them 55 vitality, a great boost for races that start with terrible vitality anyway. Allocate the stat points at creation so the character will qualify for Bishop at level 3.

So, before making a switch, be sure you understand what you'll gain, and what you'll lose, by changing class. And do save first, in case you change your mind.


As you'll soon learn—if you don't know already—offensive spells are not the way to blow away foes. The daMage rating of many are low, and even cast at max power rating, won't be doing a lot of punishment—especially not when you're up against enemies with hundreds of hitpoints.

While you certainly want spells that can hurt your opponents, the secret to effective magic use is incapacitation. Stop the enemy in his tracks, and life is much easier.

For this, the spells to have are Paralyze, Freeze Flesh, Freeze All, Web, Sleep, Silence, and Insanity. Grab these as soon as they become available, and make use of them at every opportunity.

Blinding Flash and Terror are a special case. Monsters that are blinded or fearful will run away. I know, if the critter can't see to attack, how can it see to retreat? Well, we all know game designers cheat ;).

It is still good to have those two up your sleeve when fighting against large groups, and your other "hold em" spells aren't stopping enough of them. The enemies will return when the effects wear off, preferably after you've dispatched those who remained.

Very important protective spells include Magic Screen, Soul Shield, Element Shield, Missile Shield, and Armor Plate. Don't leave home without them! Armor Plate and Enchanted Blade should be up all the time.

When choosing offensive spells, always go for group damage first. Few foes come one-on-one; they usually travel in bands, sometimes multiple bands. Your little Frost spell won't be too helpful here.

Later in the game, you do get some nifty spells that can pack a fair amount of damage at high power levels. But until that wonderful moment, your magic is mostly for stopping and weakening the enemy more than killing them outright.

Keep in mind that spells offered at level gain are controlled by a combination of character level and score in the controlling Discipline of Wizardry, Divinity, Alchemy, or Psionics. The individual schools (Earth, Water, etc.) play only a small part in this.

Spell Level

Character Level

Minimum Discipline Score






















For hybrid classes, add 4 to character level, because they start magic at level 5 (four levels later).

Character Creation

You'd think this would be an easy matter, but there are some subtleties involved here. The starting stats have an effect on the starting values of the character's skills.

For example, in doing up a Gadgeteer, you'd want to have Int 60 and Senses 60 (or Int 55 and Senses 65) to start with Ranged Combat 9. A Dex of 65 and Speed of 55 gives Modern Weapons 9. Those are the best starting values for this class.

You'll note that pairs of stats are the consideration. That's the case most of the time, though for Fighters, Senses 50 by itself yields Close/Ranged Combat of 5, and a Dex of 65 starts weapon skills at 8.

Therefore, character creation, if you want to start with the best possible in each class, will take some time. It isn't just a matter of how many points you get by race and class. The starting values of the stats, and exactly how many points you can put into them, become important.

You'll need to do some tweaking. Allocate the points, check the skills, make some changes, and check again. Do this for several races in that class to see which produces the best overall results. Be sure to write down what you've done, so you can see the effects of different stat values on the skills, and which combinations are the ones you want.

Remember, after this, all classes are equal. Everyone receives 6 stat points and 9 skill points per level, with a max of three points allowed into any stat or skill. Skills increase with use, but stats don't, so starting off right with good stats is a big plus for your characters.

Character Development

The best way to bring your characters up is to specialize. Splitting points among many skills is simply a waste. Everything should go into what the character does. Auxiliary skills such as Artifacts really don't matter all that much in comparison.

Fighters should put their points in Close Combat, Ranged Combat, Sword, and Bow. If you plan on using two-weapon fighting, then include Dual Weapons. You may want to put a few points into the weapon class of the offhand weapon to get started there. Strength, Dex, Speed, and Senses are important combat stats, so work on those. The best overall Fighter race is Dracon, followed by Lizardman.

Rogues should add points to Lockpicking, Close Combat, Ranged Combat, Stealth, and Bow. This class can also fight with dual weapons, and if one is a sword, the Rogue can be an effective warrior. The truly larcenous can also put points into Pickpocket, so as to steal from NPC merchants. Always save before making the attempt. Note that, regardless of position, Rogues *always* attack by back-stabbing in melee combat. Dexterity and Intelligence are the most important stats. Hands down (or in your pocket ;)), Hobbits are the best of breed for a Rogue.

These two classes are easiest to bring along because they are very focused, and their concentration narrow. The others aren't quite so easy.

The pure spellcasters are Psionic, Alchemist, Mage, Priest, and Bishop. To get the best out of them, especially early on, restrict your spell choices to only two or maybe three schools at most.

Sit down with the manual and look over pages 102-108. Decide on the spells you "must have", and note the controlling school, such as Fire, Water, Divine, etc. Be sure to look at the level 7 spells, which are usually the most desirable. Make up your mind, and don't change it.

By plotting out your spell choices ahead of time, you know exactly where to put those precious points on level gain. All points should go into magic skills only. In addition, by staying with only a few schools, you use those spells more often, and thus gain in them faster, which is important. Remember that frequent spellcasting improves not only the individual school (Water, Earth, etc.), but also the controlling Discipline (Alchemy, Divinity, etc.).

Speaking of important, one school all spellcasters should have is Air. This allows you to use the lovely 5th level Portal spells (and yes, they do come as a pair, and for only one spell pick—quite a bargain!).

The Bishop is a special case, because this class learns spells from every discipline. My recommendation here is to take Divine spells, then browse those other class lists for what you want. Best results are obtained with no more than three other schools. Keep in mind, even Bishops get only one spell pick per level, so advancement won't be as quick as it is for other spellcasters.

Be sure to have enough variety among your spellcasters so you cover all the categories of Earth, Air, Fire, Water, Mental, and Divine. You'll come up against monsters who have immunities or high resistance to some of those, so being able to switch to other schools is necessary.

You don't have to choose a spell at each level gain; you can roll the point over to next level (or the one after, etc.). Doing this keeps points in reserve for the time the character is high enough in level for the better spells. Then you can take several at once.

Aside from that, you can find or buy spellbooks to supplement what the character knows. So bypassing spells on level gain doesn't mean you'll never have them. You can end up with quite a few, just from the books.

Classes that can learn Alchemy have a special bonus that isn't mentioned in the manual: the ability to mix existing potions or powders to create new ones. Here is the list of known mixes:

Acid Bomb: Stink Bomb + Boom Bomb

Canned Elemental: Ice Bomb + Fire Bomb

Cure Disease: Heavy Heal + Cure Light Condition

Cure Poison: Light Heal + Poison Reduction

Guardian Angel: Light Heal + Bless

Heavy Heal: Light Heal + Moderate Heal

Pandemonium Powder: Sneeze Powder + Flash Powder

Pickmeup: Moderate Heal + Moderate Stamina

Renewal: Heavy Heal + Cure Disease

Restoration: Heavy Heal + Heavy Stamina

Resurrection Powder: Renewal + Magic Nectar

Skeleton Powder: Desiccation Dust + Concussion Powder

Making potions is simple. Pick up one ingredient on the cursor, click the "merge" icon, then click the second ingredient. While you can do them in stacks (five of one + five of the other), it's better to make them one at a time. Why?

Mixing potions increases Alchemy. This is a great way to bring up the skill for Bishops, Rangers, and Ninja. Make a few potions, exit to the main screen, then make a few more. Keep the potions and powders for your own use, or sell them for extra cash.

Just keep in mind that beginners won't be able to mix high-level stuff, like canned elementals or skeleton powder, early on. But even a few Heavy Heal and Cure Poison potions can be helpful.

Intelligence is prime for all but the Priest, who requires Piety. Intelligence and Piety are necessary for the Bishop. Dexterity is important for all, and good speed doesn't hurt.

There are six hybrid classes that combine fighting with magic: Valkyrie (Divine), Lord (Divine), Ninja (Alchemist), Monk (Psionic), Ranger (Alchemist), and Samurai (Mage). All begin learning spells at level 5. They don't progress as quickly as the pure spellcasters, and require more work to increase their magic ability.

One reason is that you have a tendency to fight rather than spellcast with these characters most of the time. Another is trying to learn too much at once. Bringing these classes up takes patience.

As with the pure casters, plot out the spells you want, but restrict this to no more than two schools. Always put a couple of points into the controlling Discipline on level gain. Choose as your first spell something you can use often. Suggestions:

Ninja/Ranger: Acid Splash, Itching Skin, or Sleep

Lord/Valkyrie: Bless, Make Wounds, or Paralyze

Samurai: Energy Blast, Frost, or Sleep

Monk: Mind Stab

Then cast that spell whenever you can. Resist the tendency to smack critters until you've gotten off a spell or two first, unless the situation is really dire.

As for weapon skills, those develop much the same as for Fighters. Work on only what the character actually uses, for instance, swords for Lords (heh), polearms for Valkyries, bow for both, etc.

The Ranger is an exception. For this class, concentrate on ranged combat, bow, and scouting. Rangers can use their bows in melee range, and eventually become devastating, getting instant kills with their arrows. Build up the senses stat for this class quickly to receive the Eagle Eye expert skill.

Intelligence is important for all except Lords and Valkyries, who require good Piety for their Divine spells. Speed and Dexterity are especially important for Monk, Ninja, and Samurai, along with Strength and Senses.

One other thing about Ninjas: they usually don't wear any armor aside from their Ninja garb, plus maybe a cloak, some jewelry, etc., for extra protection. Don't worry about that; Ninja armor class goes up automatically as new levels are gained.

Arnika is a great place for everyone, pure and hybrid, to practice. Get those bandits or troopers webbed or insane, then cast your spells over and over. When out of juice, run to He'li's, rest up, then go do it all again, and again.

The two "odd" classes are the Gadgeteer and the Bard. They have one thing in common: they simulate magic spells by using devices. Bards have a wide variety of instruments for their magic, but aside from the starting lute, all have to be found while adventuring.

The big drawback with Bards is that each instrument does only one spell effect. Before long, the poor Bard is staggering under a backpack full of lutes, lyres, horns, drums, and who knows what. This is necessary, because only a carried instrument can be played upon.

You have to choose with care which instruments the Bard has available. When you have to pick from among Hex, Pandemonium, Nuclear Blast, Heal All, Insanity, Silence, Freeze All, Armor Melt, and the like, it isn't always easy to decide.

On the other hand, since Bards don't do natural magic, bringing them up is somewhat easier. You just put max points into music each level, then work on their fighting skills, or fighting and lockpicking if no one else has that chore.

Another plus with the Bard is that stamina is used for playing, and that comes back much faster than spellpoints do. After a big fight, spellcasters may be close to "empty" on magic power, while a minute's rest is all a Bard needs to be at full.

Be sure to bring up Intelligence and Dexterity on level gains. Both are important for accurate (i.e., no fizzle/backfire) playing. Get these as high as you can at the start, and work on them over time.

The Gadgeteer is the new class, the "modern warrior", so to speak. They arrive with the Omnigun, which initially shoots bullet stones (so be sure to equip those stones right off!). As the Gadgeteer goes up in level, the Omnigun improves in ability, eventually able to fire arrows and quarrels, as well as doing multiple shots per round.

Like the Ranger, Gadgeteers can use their Omnis in melee combat, so always have that as the primary weapon. You may want to have something else, say a sword, equipped as the alternate, in case you run out of ammo.

What makes the Gadgeteer really interesting is the ability to merge two weird "gadgets" and create a device that casts a particular spell effect. This is a matter of trial and error; there are no directions in the game on which items make what devices. However, if they don't fit, nothing happens, and you don't lose the items. So feel free to experiment.

Like the Bard's instruments, the Gadgeteer's gadgets only do one effect each, and only a Gadgeteer can use them. So, eventually, you'll have to do some picking and choosing on what is carried in the backpack.

Gadgeteers can create one item that other classes can use: multi-shot crossbows. With Engineering 35, a Gadgeteer can merge two light crossbows to make a double shot. With Engineering 75, one light crossbow can be merged with the double shot to make a triple shot crossbow.

Sorry, this can't be done with heavy crossbows, short bows, or long bows. And, for some odd reason, two slings can't be merged to make a double shot sling. This only works for light crossbows.

Bringing up a Gadgeteer is easy. All points should go into ranged combat, modern weapons, and engineering. Add in Lockpicking if this is the only character you have with the skill. Early in the monastery, you'll find a lightning rod. Have your Gadgeteer use this often, as it brings up the engineering skill. It never runs out of juice, and thus is a great alternate when you're running low on ammo. The rod only needs to be in the character's backpack to be used. It does, however, drain stamina with each use, so keep an eye on that.

The best race for Gadgeteer is the Hobbit, with stats of: 50/60/30/50/65/55/60. This will start you off with 9's in all four skills. On level gains, add to anything except Piety, concentrating on Intelligence, Dexterity, and Senses.

For all classes and skills, there will come a time when you can no longer add points. The magic number is 75. Once a skill reaches that height, it can be improved only by usage.

Note that this is the raw value of the skill, exclusive of professional bonus. For example, I have an Alchemist whose Alchemy is 60, but it shows on the sheet as 75 because of the 25% profession bonus. When he makes his next level, I can still add points because the real value is 60, not 75.

For stats, the magic number is 100, and that really is magic. This is how you obtain those exotic skills such as Eagle Eye and Power Strike. No one teaches them to you; they come when a stat is maxed out, as follows:

Strength - Power Strike

Intelligence - Power Casting

Piety - Iron Will

Vitality - Iron Skin

Dexterity - Reflextion

Speed - Snakespeed

Senses - Eagle Eye

Once you have an expert skill, you can increase it on level gain just like any other, and just like any other, it goes up with use.

This is another reason to have good starting stats. A Fighter beginning with strength 75, and putting in 3 points each level, can achieve Power Strike at level 10.

The Importance of Level

Good skills and stats go a long way to making a competent character, but character level is also an important factor. This is especially the case when it comes to critical hits, or insta-kills.

Many players add a Ninja, Monk, Samurai, or Ranger to the party because these classes have the ability to kill in one shot. Then they become disappointed because the character isn't doing a lot of those hits.

My own experiments in this area show that high skills/stats aren't enough for critical hits. I've started a number of these classes, with very high values in the necessary areas, and seen that insta-kills are few and far between.

For example, the Ninja with 85 in close combat, ranged combat, dual weapons, and martial arts, plus 80/100 in critical hit, along with 99 in speed, dexterity, and senses. At level 2, she had the expert skills of Eagle Eye, Reflextion, and Snake Speed. Was she good?

Yes and no. Of course, she hardly ever missed, and just about any critter in the lower monastery went down with one shot from fist or foot. But insta-kills were another matter. Despite having the most kills (not surprising), the Ninja had managed only two crits by the time we headed out to Arnika, one in melee and one thrown.

It was pretty much that way for a long time: insta-kills were few and far between. Not until around level 10 did the frequency increase in any noticeable way.

That held true for the other classes, as well. Ranger, Monk, Samurai--none of them had the frequency of critical hits you'd expect from superior scores. So what does that mean?

If you take one or more of these classes for their ability to kill instantly, be prepared to wait. Build them up in the proper areas, be patient, and eventually you'll be rewarded with those "one hit, one kill" shots.

The Party

Almost any mix of classes can see you through the monastery. Opponents are low-level, and easy to kill, with a few exceptions. After that, difficulty rises by a large factor. This is when players start roaming the net, looking for the "best party".

The best party is the one that works for *you*. So what follows are suggestions only. Pick, choose, experiment. Keep in mind, though, that whatever you have, proper development, along with good tactics, is what really brings success.

Two pure spellcasters, from different Disciplines, I do consider the minimum. My first party was heavy on muscle: Fighter, Samurai, Ninja, Ranger, Gadgeteer, and Bishop. This party I abandoned early. The Bishop was too overworked, and really couldn't handle all the magic chores. It would be a long haul before the others were effective with magic, and I just didn't feel like struggling that long.

The second team was Fighter, Samurai, Ranger, Priest, Mage, and Bard. This was much better. Three right off who could do spells, and the difference was evident from the start. Combat was a lot easier, and I did love that Bard with her musical magic.

Team three was Fighter, Monk, Ninja, Bishop (3-step), Psionic, and Alchemist. This group was even better, thanks mostly to the back line spellcasters (plus by now I'd learned how to develop them properly ;).

Team four was the same crew, except I switched Rogue for Ninja (I just had to try out that shopstealing/pickpocket stuff!). Not surprisingly, this is the best so far. Picking up stuff "for free" doesn't hurt, either. Heh.

Basically, then, what you want to start with is two good Fighters up front, two good spellcasters in the rear, then fill in the remaining spots with whatever suits your style. Someone from the Ninja/Rogue/Gadgeteer/Bard quartet for detrapping & lockpicking is good to have.

If you take only two pure spellcasters, I suggest going slow. Spend extra time in Arnika looking for targets, also along the Arnika-Monastery road, to build up the magic power of the hybrid classes. Preparation early will save you a lot of grief later on.

NPC Recruits

As you wander the world, you'll come across a number of NPC characters you can take into the party. Once joined, they are just like your own characters: you have total control over them, can direct them in combat like your own people, distribute their points at level gain time, etc. There's only one drawback to these recruits: sooner or later, they will leave the party.

There are certain areas of the world they just won't enter. Myles, for example, refuses to go to Marten's Bluff or the Mines (among others). Vi Domina won't go to Bayjin or the Sea Caves.

You can force them in by trickery. Enter the "forbidden" area, set a portal, pick up the NPC again, then teleport in. Unfortunately, this doesn't do much for you. The NPC's stats and abilities are diminished, as though hexed. And they whine, nag, and complain the entire time you're in the hated location. So, they'll pick up experience, but they won't function very well until you leave, after which they're back to normal.

It isn't mandatory to take on any of these recruits, though it certainly can be helpful sometimes. The problem is, you get used to them being there, and come to depend on that. Then, suddenly, they're gone, and you're back to just your happy band of six again.

I usually take on Myles to rescue Vi, then drop him. Vi I keep until we've made the trip to the Monastery for the wheel door and returned to Arnika, when I leave her at He'li's place.

Also, there are a couple of instances where you have to take on someone for quest purposes. For instance, if you ally with the Umpani, one task requires having a certain Umpani in the group. Much later, if you're working on the T'Rang/Umpani alliance (ooo, spoiler!), you'll need two open slots.

And then there's the "Where are they?" problem if you want someone back in the group. Vi and Myles return to Arnika (He'Li's and the fountain, respectively); RFS-81 stays wherever you leave him. Most others go back to where you first met them, though there have been reports that certain NPCs were dismissed and never seen again. So you may want to return to whatever location the NPC calls home before dismissal, just to be safe.

The overall best recruit is RFS-81, the Savant Trooper found at the start of the Mines area. He is a non-magic Monk (no spells), level 10 when you pick him up. His skills and stats are quite good, except ranged combat, which is terrible and requires some building up. He will go with you everywhere, except the Rapax Away Camp. RFS is the only one I take into the party these days.

So recruit or not as you see fit. Extra hands can be a great help, but they won't be around all the time.


Even without extras in the party, you often have help in fighting monsters from the local patrols. In Arnika, this is the HLL. They routinely troop through the streets, and any nearby when fighting starts will join in. The temple brothers will do likewise.

You have no control over them, of course. However, since they're allies, they are affected by any spells you cast on the party, such as Armorplate, Enchanted Blade, Magic Screen, etc. You can also cast healing and curative spells on them to keep them going.

Offensive magic, such as fireballs, toxic clouds, etc., will *not* hurt them, so go ahead and use those spells. BUT...watch out for ranged attacks. If allies are between you and the monsters, shooting arrows or hurling rocks is a bad idea. You can easily hit an ally with "friendly fire". Either stay with spells or move up for hand-to-hand, if there's room.

Also, you don't lose by this help. The party receives experience for every dead opponent, whether killed by your team or by the patrol. So you don't have to break your neck to get involved ;).

Note: hitting an ally by mistake will not turn them hostile. It's still better, though, not to hit them at all.


Monsters have a tremendous advantage. They can move as units, while your party can only move as a group. This is a limitation of the 3D view, and it can hurt you a lot. In no time at all, your merry band could be surrounded by hostiles and reduced to shreds.

So the first rule of fighting is: never fight in the open if you can help it. The best positions are in doorways, halls, or corridors, where enemies are forced to come at you head-on, and no more than two at time are in front.

In the outdoors, try to back into a crevice, which at least prevents opponents from getting behind you. If there's no crevice, then back into the side of the hill or whatever (trees are not a good idea).

Indoors, ducking around a corner can be a handy way of forcing critters to come in small doses if you're in a wide hallway or no door is nearby.

Of course, that's useful mainly when you're facing opponents who only do melee combat. Many have ranged attacks of some kind: Brigands hurl knives, Slimes spit goo, Mages have spells, etc. With time and experience, you'll learn which ones are dangerous at a distance, and which aren't.

When hostilities begin, the first order of business is to check what protections you may need; not all protective spells can be cast outside of combat. For Brigands and similar, Missile Shield should be at the ready.

When facing Mages, or creatures capable of spell-like attacks, such as vines, Element Shield and Magic Screen are what you want, and possibly Soul Shield as well.

Then look over your arsenal of disabling spells. For enemies at distance, I like Insanity. Those affected stand and do nothing much, or, even better, run amok and start attacking each other.

For closer opponents, Freeze Flesh or Web is good. Paralyze can be handy against an individual enemy who's giving you trouble.

Against multiple groups, the Sleep spell can be surprisingly effective, at least early on. A couple of those can knock out much of the opposition for a while.

Generally, the more hitpoints an enemy has, the more dangerous it is. Use your best disabling magic against them, at the highest power level you can manage.

The big problem is initiative. It is often the case that weapon attacks go off before spells. In the meantime, the enemy is attacking (or moving in), and then finally your spellcasters get their chance. So in each fight, you'll have to decide whether it's more important to get off protection spells or disabling spells in the first round. Of course, if you have enough spellcasters, you may be able to do both.

Once a group has been neutralized, you can move into melee range. Up close fighting does more daMage than ranged weapons, allowing you to kill the enemies faster, especially if you let loose a couple of good daMage spells.

If you're up against some really troublesome groups, try Blinding Flash or Terror to get rid of some of them for awhile.

These are the basic tactics that work well at the start of the game. As you come up against more potent foes, you'll modify them to suit the circumstances and your party composition.

Here's an example of a recent encounter on the way back to Arnika after we'd opened the wheel door in the monastery.

The team ran into a big horde of critters: two groups of Brigands, six unknown plants, and one caustic vine. Altogether, about fifteen or sixteen opponents. We already had Armorplate and Enchanted Blade up.

First round, the Psionic casts Insanity at the larger group of bandits, while the Monk does similar at the smaller one. Bishop puts up a missile shield. The plants are still way back, so everyone else uses missile weapons for now.

The spells go off, getting most of the large group, and all three of the smaller one (pretty good for power level 1!). So the majority of bad guys stand around frothing or attacking each other and the plants. One starts running away. Two approach the group. The plants move closer.

Next round, the front line beats on the closer Brigand. The Bishop stops the caustic vine with paralyze. The first wave of offensive spells goes off from the Psionic (psionic fire) and Alchemist (whipping rocks). The nuts are still beating on each other.

Third round, the second wave of spells goes off (same as before), and the acid vines are pretty much history. So is the Brigand in front of the group, and the other doesn't last long, nor does the caustic vine (which took daMage from both spell waves), after some good missile fire (everyone, by the way, is using spike stones, barbed arrows, or hunter quarrels).

Then it's only a matter of mopping up the remainder, mostly just missile fire, with a Sleep spell thrown in as Insanity wore off. I was conserving magic juice, because fights on this road usually come one after another (as turned out to be the case).

A couple of party members took some daMage from the two Brigands who actually came up to us, but the injury was minor, and two or three were affected in a minor way from the acidvines (the six unknown plants), and that wore off quickly.

In this fight, most of the attacking was done at distance, a good thing with such a large number of opponents. Had the Brigands managed to get up close and surround us, the result wouldn't have been pretty.

However, this combat does illustrate the great importance of those disabling spells. Most of the Brigands and the caustic vine were out of action at the start, and the weaker opponents were quickly dispatched by spells. And enough of the Brigands were also hit by the spells so that killing them at distance was fast.

The Road To Arnika

Consider this the acid test for your party. If you can't make it, or have a lot of trouble, then either (a) you have the wrong party composition, or (b) you didn't develop your characters properly in the monastery, or (c) you're having really bad luck with monster generation.

Make no mistake, this is a tough road. It begins as a dirt path between towering cliffs, with nowhere to hide. Then it opens onto countryside, with grassy banks on either side.

The first thing to do is save before leaving the monastery. Occasionally, high-level (for this part of the game) monsters might be generated when you cross the boundary to the outdoors. Should this happen, quit the game, rerun it, and try leaving again.

My teams usually run into a few venom crabs shortly after exiting. A web or sleep spell and melee combat generally takes them out quickly.

The most frequent opponents along the cliff road are Brigands of various types. The "freeze and frag" tactics described in the Combat section are usually enough to deal with them, and with the bunch at the end of the south path (where the treasure chest is; do go there if you have a Bard for a nice instrument).

Real trouble usually begins when you reach the green area. NEVER travel on the road itself, wherever you are. Always go on the side, as close to the cliff walls as you can.

Keep a close eye on your radar screen. Often, monsters will appear there first, as red dots. Sometimes, you can get around them without being seen, if there's enough room where you are, and you're careful about movement.

Unfortunately, this stretch doesn't offer much cover. Even staying close to the sides won't help a lot. So, as you walk along—slowly—watch for crevices you can use when fighting starts. Retreat there if you need to.

As soon as all enemies have been defeated, save the game without moving. It's often the case that another bunch isn't far off. A few steps could take you into a fight you don't need, especially if you're low on spell power or need a lot of healing.

Just where the green begins is an Umpani teleport house. There's no way in from outside. However, I've heard that, if you camp behind it for three full cycles (24 hours), monsters in the vicinity will move off and new ones generate. I haven't tried this myself, but if you're up against something you just can't defeat, give it a try. As a last resort, you can also go back to your save before leaving the monastery, and hope for less nasty monsters the second (third?) time around. Good luck!


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